Category Archives: REPURPOSED

One of my favorite feel good things is recognizing something can be saved, flipped, redirected or whatever one may call it…giving something a second life!

Hair of the Dog

He wears it well. 


A Playroom Revisited

It’s a common complain among my clients.  They like most of the furniture they purchased, but it doesn’t feel the way they want it to feel.  And it’s making them crazy.

In this particular case, it is the playroom of a sweet eight-year old girl in Cary, North Carolina.

It’s a spacious room.  Pretty wall color, high ceilings, natural light.  Here’s a look before we made any changes from each angle.    IMG_2665That’s what  you see when you enter the room.

This photo below is from the other side.  Lots of potential to make it more inviting.  She has a beautiful pink kitchen in there.


Last angle:  this is the wall between the main entrance to the room and the bathroom. It’s time to roll up the sleeves and move a few things, starting with those big baskets and bookshelf.


I love this part of the redesign.  It suddenly becomes place of movement and laughter.  And lots of lifting, pausing and sometimes moving again.  It’s a process.  And then you just know.  It’s feels different.

Here’s how the room looks now.

IMG_3267By placing the black bookshelf behind the couch,  it doubles as a console and as place to access her books and crafts since it’s in the same area now as her favorite owl beanbag and table for creating stuff.

From another angle:


Now this eight year old can use this area for pretend play, crafting, or even doing homework.


By moving the couch closer to the front of the room, it creates two distinct spaces and purposes.  One is for independent, semi-private play, and the other is for family lounging, playing a game or just hanging out. Adding lamps warms up the space and allows for some cozy evening reading and relaxing, too.  The wicker boxes now serve as storage and end tables.  Add a square tray to place on top and it can holds the drinks and popcorn for movie-time.

The best part about this is we simply used what they already had and didn’t have to spend a dime buying more stuff.   Down the road,  that beautiful back wall could be a built-in window seat with storage and shelving on both sides, but for now, I’m told a certain eight-year old girl loves her playroom.

Less stuff,  more connection.  And hopefully more opportunities for the whole family and friends enjoying time together.

Here’s a last look:






Hawaiian Dreamin’

Decorating or design in a home isn’t just about making things pretty. It’s about creating that space that you connect to. 

The place that makes you feel good. Peaceful. Home. 

This family in Cary North Carolina reached out to me late this summer when they decided that they were ready to bring that sense of peace they loved in Hawaii to their home in North Carolina. It’s an ongoing project, but I’m impatient and just had to share how it’s going.​  I hope you will watch and get inspired. Is there a room in your place that could use a second look? 


Pallet Board Makeover

I liked my recessed built-ins flanking the fireplace,  but the brown walls were not winning me over. IMG_6423

There was nothing wrong with them.  Just missing a little personality.

I thought about painting them.   That would be nice, but not quite the home run I was looking for.   Then it hit me.  That collection of wooden pallet boards gathering dust in my garage could possibly create the warmth I was seeking.   IMG_6408

Instead of attempting a big wall, I thought I’d start with two small ones flanking my fireplace.  I knew I had enough wood.

First thing I did was clean them and look for any stamps.  I found out that some boards are not suitable for indoor use.  They are sprayed with chemicals to keep the bugs away.  It’s easy to find out which labels are good and bad, thanks to the internet.    This one is good.


This next one is questionable.


After you clean them, you need to saw through the nails so you can remove the boards from the plank.   It takes about five minutes.


I like that no two boards are the same.  The walls look aged and have lots of character that way.


Time to sand. The boards need to be a little smoother  and free of debris. Juan Jimenez, a.k.a “Dr. Drywall Pro” or Durham, NC did all of the work.  In a day.


Once all the pieces are sanded, they are ready for the wall.

You need to frame it first.


Then it’s just a matter of mixing up the pieces and shades of wood.


Like a puzzle, the pieces have to be an exact match.  This is why I asked Juan to do the job.  I’ll stick to design ideas.

One down…one to go. img_6458-1The first wall takes longer.  He put the second one up in under an hour.


What a difference.   The pallet walls makes my space feel warm, inviting and relaxing .  I can’t get over it.  I am now as obsessed with pallet boards as Joanna Gaines is obsessed with shiplap.

For my local friends, Juan says he enjoys creating these walls…  🙂

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Mirror Mirror On The Wall

I’m not sure I like how it’s positioned over the sink, but I sure love the use of pipes here.

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And it’s an instant toilet paper storage space.  Okay, maybe not the most attractive spot for toilet paper, but this is a public bathroom in a local restaurant, not someone’s home.

Practicality rules.

Great burgers, too.

Bad Daddy’s Burger bar in Morrisville, NC.


Eggshells Are Our Friends

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From the News & Observer, Raleigh

My daughter loves crushing eggshells.  She told me to give this job to her.  I think she’s unleashing something.

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This is about the right size to sprinkle around tomato plants and other little friends in the garden.

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I tossed it everywhere.  Deer do not like the smell of eggs.  Can’t say I blame them.  The eggshells are a natural fertilizer and it’s much faster to grind them up and toss around the garden.   Don’t go the tea route as explains here:

Crushing Shells
“Instead of making a tea, you can crush eggshells and add them directly to the soil in your garden. Collect shells throughout the winter so that you have an adequate supply at planting time. Wash and dry the shells to remove any egg residue. Place the shells into a food processor and process until a powder forms. Wear a dust mask when crushing the eggshells so that you don’t breathe in the eggshell dust. Stir the powdered shells into the soil or potting mix just before planting. Gillman suggests using five shells per plant. You can also sprinkle a handful of shells into the planting hole before you set a plant root ball in it.”

Ok, I just tossed them.  Next time I might grind them in the blender, but what fun is that?  And it’s so loud.

This is good to know, too:

“Plants need calcium to thrive. Calcium helps the plants develop a strong cellular structure. Calcium deficiency is visible in young plants, because the leaves are twisted or have black spots, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The plant’s overall growth is stunted too. In fruiting plants, such as tomatoes, a lack of calcium is evident when the fruits develop blossom end rot, or a thin, dark spot on the bottom of the fruit. An additional benefit of eggshells in the garden is that larger shell pieces help deter slugs. The sharp edges of the shells irritate the soft bodies of the slugs.”

Oops.  I think I overdid the 5 shells per plant limit.   What’s a little extra calcium?

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Eggshells also make excellent facial masks.  I’m going to use this powder and add some egg whites to see what happens.

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Every once in awhile, you just need to pummel some eggshells.

Why do I feel like Unikitty?